My husband is a bit of an introvert. Me? Not so much. Shortly after we moved from Brooklyn, N.Y. to Durham, N.C., a friend invited us to another person’s costume karaoke party. Knowing I really wanted to go dressed as members from the band Odyssey, my husband put on a wig, unbuttoned his shirt, wore my shell necklace and carried a blue guitar. Turns out my friend was wrong: It was not a costume party. Instead of fleeing or getting angry, my husband stayed in costume all night long, loudly wearing his love for me for all to see. — Pam Bash
My Last Chance to Tell Him
My father became ill with advanced heart failure three weeks after I realized I was lesbian. At 49, I was in uncharted water. The truth kept hitting like a rough wave. On my first two visits, I shied away from telling him. His strength waned. “Is this going to be my last meal?” my father asked, half-laughing at the hospital food. While other family fulfilled his request for steak, potato, asparagus, merlot, I sat by his side — on a precipice. My choice would be absolute. I leaped. My father caught me, saying, “My whole heart is with you.” — Cate Wnek
Lonely Little Girl
Jim was a Jersey City mail carrier and the son of our neighbor. I was a 6-year-old only child who eagerly awaited his visits. With twinkling blue eyes and an infectious smile, Jim always stopped to talk and make me feel special. One crisp October day, his mailbag slung over his shoulder, Jim brought me the biggest plastic jack-o’-lantern I’d ever seen. That jack-o’-lantern has followed me for 60 years and to five homes. Every Halloween, it greets the trick-or-treaters at my front door, reminding me of a kind man who made a lonely little girl feel seen. — Janet Skidmore
Brakes or Music?
We’d each left New York for Los Angeles. On our blind date, I mentioned the car I wanted. People in Los Angeles talk about cars, I guess. Days later, without my knowing, he went to the dealership — to research. “Get the one with ABS brakes,” he said on a call. “It’s safer.” I couldn’t afford both those brakes and the six CD changer I wanted. We’d only just met, but clearly my safety was already a priority to him. I chose the stereo, maybe not the best decision, but I also chose to be with him forever, which was.
— Rachel Zients Schinderman